NEW YORK — The NFL will review how the Panthers’ medical team handled a hit to Cam Newton’s head during Carolina’s loss to Denver in the season opener.
The league said Sunday that it wants to ensure the concussion protocol is being “uniformly applied across all 32 teams.”
So along with the players’ association, the NFL will review “the relevant documents and video and interview the involved parties.”
Newton took several hard hits in Thursday night’s game, including four helmet to helmet and one after which he appeared woozy. The union has questioned why Newton didn’t undergo a cognitive exam on the sideline during the game.
Newton was tested four times for a concussion — after the game in the locker room; on the bus; on the flight home; and Friday morning at the stadium — and all proved to be negative. He was never tested during the game.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy reiterated in his statement Sunday that this review “does not mean that we have seen any evidence that the protocol was applied improperly, but simply reflects our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our players.”
The biggest hit on Newton was by safety Darian Stewart on Carolina’s final possession, leaving the QB motionless on the ground for several seconds. Newton stayed in and led the Panthers into field goal range, although Graham Gano missed a 50-yard attempt that would have given Carolina the lead.
Stewart said after the game he felt as if he led with his shoulder, not his head.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he didn’t see a need to sit Newton after the hit.
“I’m not going to question the doctors, OK? There is a protocol,” Rivera said.
Now, the NFL is looking into how well that protocol was followed.